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Publius: Does anyone need it?

By Eloquence in Media
Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 09:54:48 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

A few month ago, Publius was hyped in many online media. Publius is "a Web publishing system that is highly resistant to censorship and provides publishers with a high degree of anonymity". The system "consists of publishers who post Publius content to the web, servers who host random-looking content, and retrievers who browse Publius content on the web". It is now easily usable (see below), but still it seems to be rarely used. Why is that so?


To publish a document in Publius, one only needs to connect to a Publius proxy and perform the respective Publius operations. Documents can be easily retrieved using Publius URLs.

Still, the list of sample documents hasn't changed at all (and I haven't seen any URL submissions on the mailing list), and Publius URLs seem to be hardly referenced on the Net. Is it because of the 100K filesize? Or is the system too cumbersome? Do people have a need for anonymous publishing? I realize that it may be a bit unusual to point other people to a Publius URL, with an explanation on using the system, but if nobody starts using it, people will not bother to understand how it works, and the developers will not be motivated to make Publius easier to use.

So if you have any articles, papers or code that deserve anonymity, why not give Publius a try? The system seems quite well thought-out.

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Poll
Why don't you use Publius?
o I have no need for anonymous publishing 34%
o It's too difficult for the potential readers 6%
o The filesize limit makes it useless for my purposes 8%
o I've been using it for some time, it's cool 0%
o Because I didn't know about it (thanks Elo!) 28%
o The system is technically flawed 1%
o Anonymity is unnecessary and stupid 2%
o Because people wouldn't know that I'm Inoshiro 17%

Votes: 73
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Publius
o connect to a Publius proxy
o operations
o Publius URLs
o well thought-out
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
Publius: Does anyone need it? | 11 comments (11 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
too hard (2.16 / 6) (#1)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:12:05 PM EST

It looks like an ultra difficult way of doing something that can already be done with a free webhost and a URL redirecter.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Freespace ISPs (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:15:09 PM EST

As I can tell you from personal experience, freespace ISPs tend to remove content at the slightest complaint in order to avoid trouble. Thus, for any purpose where anonymity is truly needed, they seem to be out of the game, wouldn't you agree?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
yeah i've noticed that (1.00 / 6) (#3)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:19:32 PM EST

But when it happens a redirector like <a href="http://www.cjb.net/">CJB</a> lets you more somewhere else without too much trouble. CJB are well know for tolerating whatever content you have on the other end of the redirect.

I gather with this system the data still needs to be hosted somewhere right?



--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
yeah i've noticed that (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:19:38 PM EST

But when it happens a redirector like CJB lets you more somewhere else without too much trouble. CJB are well know for tolerating whatever content you have on the other end of the redirect. I gather with this system the data still needs to be hosted somewhere right?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Censorship-resistance (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:26:07 PM EST

Publius distributes data on many different servers, servers also don't know what they are hosting and have no way to find out. That is supposed to make forced removal much more difficult. It remains to be seen how this holds up in reality, but it should at least be much harder to get content removed from Publius than from a freespace ISP.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
I must be getting tired: (3.66 / 6) (#6)
by elenchos on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:27:10 PM EST

    I realize that it may be a bit unusual to point other people to a Publius URL, with an explanation on using the system, but if nobody starts using it, people will not bother to understand how it works, and the developers will not be motivated to make Publius easier to use.
Ok...
  • Make a system that is hard to use.
  • If people use it (in spite of it being hard to use), then make it easier to use.
  • Else if people do not use it (because it is hard to use), then don't bother making it easier to use.

    Is that how it works?

    Adequacy.org

  • Probably (4.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Eloquence on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:36:02 PM EST

    I think the guys at AT&T have mostly done this for two reasons: 1) as a technical experiment, 2) to see if there's interest. When 1) & 2) produce no further results, they are probably not very much motivated to do further work on it. Also, they may not even be aware that the system is not as easy-to-use as it should be, so user feedback is essential.

    Give them credit for developing it, I think now it's the users' turn.
    --
    Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
    spread the word!
    [ Parent ]

    How to Improve Publius (3.20 / 5) (#11)
    by Robert Uhl on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:24:37 AM EST

    They need to have an index page or something--what use is a system under which I can retrieve six documents, three of which don't work? It says those are the first six documents posted--I think they're the only six documents posted. At least Freenet (whose Java code I cannot get to work on my Linux box--and speaking of Java, if it's platform independent why are there Windows and Unix versions, and Mac's unsupported? and why do I get better compatibility with C?) has an attempt at this.

    Second: dump the proxy. This is evil evil evil. I run a SQuid proxy for a reason. Replace the proxy with a client-side local server, or even better with a serve rwhich can run local or remote, using SSL for its communications.

    [ Parent ]

    Anonymity (3.40 / 5) (#8)
    by pope nihil on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:53:17 PM EST

    If you want to publish or download something anonymously, try checking out freenet. The current version is quite useable. Even has a web interface.



    I voted.

    Why I Don't Use Publius (3.50 / 6) (#9)
    by the Epopt on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:20:43 PM EST

    Freenet does everything I need, and I already run enough proxies to choke a troll. I don't feel like chaining in another one.
    -- 
    Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
    Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

    K5_Arguing_HOWTO
    Publis never caught on (1.58 / 17) (#10)
    by delmoi on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:26:34 PM EST

    Beacuse it sounds *waaaay* to much like "Pubis"
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    Publius: Does anyone need it? | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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